On the Move: Impact transfers abound in San Diego
Let's face it: transfers are a staple of the high school sports landscape. No more is player movement apparent in high school basketball.
This year in San Diego, a number of high-profile players are on the move to new campuses, and their departures - and arrivals - will have a huge impact on the section's top teams.
And, for the first time since Jaylen Hands was an underclassmen, the fate of one of the high-level transfer hangs in the balance.
Here is a guide to the biggest transfers in San Diego.
If we have missed any impact transfers, feel free to let us know via Twitter @fulltimehoops1 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Riley to Cathedral Catholic...but a fight looms
The biggest transfer news of the off season was the transfer of top 2020 guard Beon Riley from Mater Dei Catholic to Cathedral Catholic. Riley, an All Metro League first team selection as a freshman and a sophomore, is slated to be reunited with his longtime travel ball mates Obinna Anyanwu, Thomas Notarainni and Alex Wade to form what would easily be a Top 10 team. There are questions whether CIF will clear Riley's transfer, but if he is declared eligible, this sets the Dons up to be not only a strong team this year, but for the next three years as they have a bevy of underclass talent.
Star "crosses" league lines
If Riley's move to Cathedral was the most discussed move of the offseason, Nakial Cross' move from Bishop's to St. Augustine might have the most material impact on the region's two most dominant leagues.
Cross, a 6-foot-7 hyper-athletic forward, not only bolsters the Saints already talented front line (6-7 Chibuzo Agbo, 6-6 Luke Haupt and 6-5 Alex Dennis), it really lowers the projected outlook for Bishop's, which had returned three other starters from a D2 semifinals run.
With Cross, the Western League now cements itself as the power broker in San Diego, with No. 1 preseason team Mission Bay leading the way and upstart Cathedral gaining ground swiftly.
Torrey Pines gets "big" additions
The Falcons were the biggest threat to Mission Bay last season, taking the Bucs to the wire in an Open Division semifinals loss. This season might just be the same, and it's because of two very big additions.
First, the Falcons welcome 6-foot-8 Victor Novy, who moved to San Diego from Cedarburg, WI. The strapping Novy provides John Olive's bunch strength in the interior as well as another deep-shooting threat.
In one of the offseason's more underrated moves, 6-7 Travis Snider (pictured) transferred from one district school to the next, moving on from San Dieguito Academy after starring there for two seasons on the varsity. Snider, a skilled four man, recently won MVP at the 3P Creme of the County 2019 Creme Game.
The Falcons, however, will need a playmaking guard to emerge to take pressure off of Bryce and Michael Pope after losing talented 2020 G Nick Herrmann for the season due to illness.
Christian has new-look back court
The Division 2 runners up had as volatile of an offseason as we've seen in recent memory. Davion Famber's team was in the mix for a Top-5 preseason ranking when it appeared to add Mount Miguel transfer CJ Jackson (more about him later) and 2020 guards Miles Williams (pictured) and Kobe Sanders from Parker and Steele Canyon, respectively. But Jackson ended up at Sweetwater, and Famber saw starter Jordan Gaines and reserve guard Dominic Safarta transfer out to Valhalla.
But adding Williams and Sanders gives Famber a very underrated back court pair, as Sanders at 6-5 has potential to be a sleeper in the class, while Williams started for the D2 champs at Parker.
Other key transfers:
Baylor Brimmer and Connor Miller from San Dieguito Academy to La Costa Canyon - The Mustangs lost three starters to transfer this year, including this duo, who will provide the Mavs with a starter on the wing (Brimmer) and badly needed back court depth (Miller).
Cade Raley from West Hills to Foothills Christian - West Hills' most talented underclassmen heads to the Knights, where he will fill a key reserve role.
Chase Pagon from Battlefield (VA) to Santa Fe Christian - A mystery man headed into the year, Pagon gave us a glimpse of his talented slashing and scoring ability at the SD High School Fall Showcase.
Christian West and Jeremiah Brown to Mira Mesa - The Marauders welcome back West, who attended as a sophomore, and Brown, who is a sleeper in the 2019 class, to team with returning all-league guard Noah Tumblin and four other starters. Mira Mesa is poised for a big turnaround.
CJ Jackson and Jeilen Jackson from Mount Miguel to Sweetwater - The former Jackson is an absolute beast who in his first season of organized hoops was named an All League performer for the Matadors. He will team with sophomore CJ McMillan to give the Red Devils its biggest front court in recent memory. The younger Jackson, an athletic 6-4 junior swingman, gives Jesse Aguirre perimeter depth.
Cobey Harraway from Victory Rock Prep (FL) to Army Navy Academy - The wiry 6-3 guard, along with the addition of 2022 G Alexis Marmolejos, has significantly changed Army Navy's outlook. Harraway is a smooth scorer and an underrated athlete on the wing.
Dorian Blue from Foothills Christian to Lincoln HS - The senior sharpshooter gives Hornets Coach Jeff Harper-Harris a bona fide leader for his largely underclass squad. Blue had several big games for the Open Division runners up during his two years there.
Dreonta Raymond from El Capitan to Crawford - The uber-athletic 6-2 scoring guard gives Jason Byrd a very dynamic piece to pair with its returning back court of Jabir Muhammad and Tashae Hardy.
Emmett Neal Jr. from Sacred Heart to Balboa School - While not a CIF squad, the transfer of Neal, a noted scorer from the Bay Area, gives the Bengals a very strong back court heading into a rigorous prep season. Neal has also reclassified to 2020.
Jacob Collins and Kareem Ilaian from Mission Hills to Sage Creek - The Bobcats get a veteran point guard in Ilaian to pair with its youngsters, and Collins is an athlete who is transitioning from a post to a wing and should provide big minutes.
Jailen Nelson from Sage Creek to Carlsbad - Carlsbad had been in need of a true point guard to pair alongside "point wing" Carter Plousha and fast rising senior guard Chase Murray. Nelson, a 5-10 junior, gives them the playmaker they need and then some.
Jordan Gaines and Dom Safarta to Valhalla - Valhalla's outlook immediately changed when the former Christian switched East County addresses. Gaines is a scoring-minded 6-0 guard and Safarta is as flashy as they come at 5-6.
Kailon King and Clarence Martin from Patrick Henry to Mater Dei Catholic - CIF reportedly has ruled the duo ineligible due to transfer rules - but King - an ever-improving 6-0 pure point guard - and the 6-2 sharpshooter Martin will be big pieces of the Crusaders future moving forward, and possibly this season if they win their appeals.
Lawrence Gray from Morse to Mount Miguel - After a tumultuous season that saw Gray transfer twice and sit out the year, he pairs with Marquise Edwards to give the Matadors two very underrated wing playmakers.
Luke Stratton from Torrey Pines to Canyon Crest Academy - Buried behind a bevy of frontcourt players at Torrey Pines, Stratton will give the Ravens a rugged scoring presence it needs after losing four starters to graduation.
Mickey Chew from Valley Center to Orange Glen - A sleeper move, as Chew was a full-time starter as a freshman for the Jaguars. Pairs with longtime friend and fellow 2021 Adam Nieves to give Chris Featherly two big building blocks.
Owen Hill from Scripps Ranch to Bishop's - A JV standout last season, the 6-3 wing will provide depth for the Knights upon his joining the lineup in December, and will be a big piece of Nick Levine's program moving forward.
Shaun Jackson from Christian to High Tech SD - Jackson, who stood out at this season's Creme of the County 2021 Select game, could be the most talented player to transfer into one of the smaller basketball programs in SD.
Steven Stinson from Victory Christian to San Diego - Another underrated move, as Stinson - the Knights second-leading scorer from last season - pairs with sophomore AJ Burgin and senior guard Daniel Thomas to give the Cavers one of the region's most unheralded back courts.